CDC loosens COVID guidance, scraps quarantine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday relaxed many of the guidelines for COVID-19 in communities, a major shift that emphasizes living with the virus rather than strict prevention of infection.

  • The new guidance puts the onus on individuals to assess their own personal risk levels, rather than businesses, governments or schools. CDC indicated it will focus on protecting people at high risk for severe illness.
  • CDC officials told reporters the new guidelines are an acknowledgement that 95 percent of the population has some form of protection, either from prior infection or from vaccination, and are unlikely to become seriously ill.

“The current conditions of this pandemic are very different from those of the last two years,” CDC epidemiologist Greta Massetti said during a briefing.


Key Changes: If you’ve been exposed to the virus, you no longer need to quarantine, regardless of vaccination status.

  • Routine surveillance testing in schools and other community settings is no longer recommended. Neither is contact tracing.
  • The six-foot physical distancing recommendation? No longer needed.

Context: The changes show a tacit shift from the Biden administration, which has faced criticism for continuing to recommend strict prevention methods even as vaccines and antiviral treatments have been widely available.


“This guidance acknowledges that the pandemic is not over, but also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives,” Massetti said.